Microsoft Inc. announced it will start giving users of its Outlook email and other products a heads-up when accounts are being targeted and hacked by government sources.
The company told Reuters its change in policy comes because of queries into its silence over a hack attack discovered in 2011 that targeted China’s Tibetan and Ulghur minorities. The company’s internal watchdogs found members of China’s government had initiated the targeted attacks, but Microsoft kept mum on that information.
Microsoft promises future hacks won’t be treated the same way.
“As the threat landscape has evolved, our approach has too and we’ll now go beyond notification and guidance to specify if we reasonably believe the attacker is ‘state-sponsored,'” Microsoft said in a statement to Reuters.
The company also put out a blog post: “We’re taking this additional step of specifically letting you know if we have evidence that the attacker may be ‘state-sponsored’ because it is likely that the attack could be more sophisticated or more sustained than attacks from cybercriminals and others.”
Google Inc, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc., and Yahoo Inc. already alert users to cyberattacks from government officials.